Historical Museum

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The Small Museums Community assists America's small museums in their endeavors, helping to make them stronger and more responsive to their communities.  The Committee encourages small museums to share successful strategies in workshops and national meetings and demonstrate what the filed can learn from small museums.

 

Small Museums Blog

Cornwall Historical Museum Informational Meeting

Comments on Museum Meeting

70+ people attended. The back row was populated by a dozen Historical Society members. All forward rows by people dedicated to the commitment to making this museum the best museum it can be. Who spoke? Everyone spoke! Rick Gioia , Lisa DiMartino, Chris Rupert, Thomas Bregman, Shoshana Abeles Wynn Gold, Bill Braine, Carla Castillo, Edward Warren, Bruce Cohen, Suzanne Vondrak, Lynn Peebles, Douglas Land, Claudia Depkin, Christy Driscoll Larkiny, Peter A. Erwin, Jim Kimpel and others that wanted answers or had suggestions. Reneeta McGuinness, Susan Kamlet, Collette Fulton, Nancy Bryan and others spoke in support of the Historical Society. EVERYONE spoke in support of the Historical Society – but why a modular building in the middle of Riverlight Park??

It’s about process. That is the primary take-away from tonight’s meeting. While the TS fielded every single question for nearly two hours, I and other Board members were only allotted 3 minutes like any other public participant. A Town Board member gets 3 minutes? My bad for backing down - I was looking forward to asking many other probing questions and introducing other related issues. We TB membesr represent thousands of voters – we should have as much time as we need to speak on behalf of our residents. Luckily, the community spoke so persuasively that additional comments from me were unnecessary. So yes, it IS about process - a fair process which was in very short supply tonight and certainly more fairness should not to be expected going forward. Though the meeting ended with a reluctant accommodation – there is a slim to none chance this will come out well for those looking for a fair and honest evaluation of the options for the Historical Museum (sic). If you want this museum to be the best it can be – you may need to settle for something a lot less.

IMHO and with grateful acknowledgement and recognition for everyone who stood up and commented passionately, eloquently, insightfully and articulately about the issues regarding the proposed historical museum, Library Trustee Carol Stein – commenting only as a citizen – stole the show and was awarded a round of applause. The Town Board is proposing to build a building on Town Park property for a private corporation. That is the issue that this entire process can be distilled down to. What about the Cub Scouts, the Lions Club, the Garden Club, the Knights of Columbus? Why aren’t we building facilities for these non-profit corporations? That really neatly nailed the entire argument against spending any public funds [grants or otherwise].

Christy Larkin inquired “Can we have a dialogue?” Yes to Christy but no to Tom Bregman. This evening was by no means a dialogue. TS loves to say he wants to hear from people and their ideas. He's a good listener. Unfortunately, listing is an end in itself for the TS.

Is this a project that Cornwall taxpayers should be shouldering? Even if it is built with grant monies, the Town will foot the bill for incidentals, utilities, insurance, maintenance, salaries and endless tacked-on expenses potentially including addressing ongoing drainage issues over the life of this building. We will foot the bill for a less-than-mediocre storage and display space. You can’t call it a museum. It is not a museum of the standards by which most people would consider a museum. If all they need is storage - we can accommodate that nearly anywhere. We don't need to build a building in the middle of the Park. The question was raised whether there was any guarantee that the Historical Society wouldn't be booted out by a future TB? I would ask, since the Town doesn’t own the collection, what would prevent the Historical Society from leaving? And what would we do with the building afterwards?

It is about process! Jim Kimpel [and Chris Ruppert earlier] were quite precise: no one is arguing against an Historical Museum. We have found a common ground – and a process needs to take place to ensure community involvement. Jim stated earlier that the Town is chock-full of amazingly talented individuals [heartily agree] that have a lot to bring to the discussion. Architects, designers, curators, historians … to put the responsibility of the inquiry into the best solution on the shoulders of the TS [.. and the TB generally] is too much to ask for a project that is so high profile and has so much potential. Surely since there is nothing pending and no active preparation or engagement of the current proposal - and any funding of the project six months or more away – what could happen?

The meeting ended with Lisa DiMartino persistently asking “what are the next steps” - and I helped to push the close: – “the next work session right? We will discuss creating a committee to evaluate the different options at the next work session?” Yes, TS said reluctantly .. it will be on the agenda. Stay tuned and stay involved.

Town Supervisors and Council

20016-19  Richard Randazzo, Supervisor;  Council: Kerry McGuinness, Michael Summerfield, Peter Russell (2018),  Helen Bunt* 

20014-15  Randy Clark, Supervisor;  Council: Helen Bunt, Kerry McGuinness [1 yr], Betty Longinott, Peter Russell, Jim McGee* non-voting Deputy Supervisor

2012-13   Kevin Quigley, Supervisor, Council:  Randy Clark, Al Mazzaco, Betty Longinott, Mary Beth Greene-Kraftt*

20010-11   Kevin Quigley, Supervisor, Council:  Randy Clark, Al Mazzaco, Betty Longinott, Mary Beth Greene-Kraftt*

2008-09   Kevin Quigley, Supervisor; Council:  Randy Clark, Al Mazzaco, Betty Longinott, Mary Beth Greene-Kraftt*

2006-07   Richard Randazzo, Supervisor; Council:  Randy Clark, Al Mazzaco, Kerry McGuinness Mary Beth Greene-Kraftt*

2004-05   Richard Randazzo, Supervisor; Council: Randy Clark, Kerry McGuinness, [vacancy] Mary Beth Greene-Kraftt*

2002-03   Jim Sollami, Supervisor;  Council:  Daniel Rohe, Mary Beth Greene-Kraftt, David Lincoln, James Fanning*

2000-01   Helen Bunt, Supervisor; Council:  James Fanning, Daniel Rohe, Mary Beth Greene-Kraftt, David Lincoln

1998-99  Richard Randazzo, Supervisor; Council:  James Fanning, Helen Bunt, Robert Funck,  Karen Renfrey

1996-97  Richard Randazzo, Supervisor; Council:  James Fanning, Helen Bunt, Kevin Quigley, Robert Funck

1993-95  Kenn Brodmerkel, Supervisor; Council:  Anthony Cavallo, James Fanning, Kevin Quigley, Bryon Rostanzo

1991-93

1989-91  Richard Randazzo, Supervisor; Council:  Irving Weeks, Graham Kelder, Curt Remfrey, James Fanning

 * indicates served as Deputy Town Supervisor